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Donate Blood

The below article was written by my manager for an internal
newsletter. Hope you like this article..

Healing Touch
--Praveen Gupta

"First break all the rules", "Challenge the stereotypes", "Live for
the moment", "Resolutions are for lesser mortals", "What the hell" are
some of the thoughts that reverberate my mind towards the end of every
year. Even though I guess this is just another lame attempt at
emphasizing my individuality, but my heart swells with immense pride
at the thought of me being weird. After all the fad of being different
or unusual has its own charm for my generation. This year too the
story was the same till yesterday i.e. 28 December 2004 afternoon.

It was a routine start to the day. While having breakfast, I got a
call from one of my friend. He asked me to suggest a few blood donors
for his ailing father. Since I had the same blood group I volunteered
to donate and was at a blood bank near my office after having a light
lunch. Once the sample was tested, I was made to lie down on a bed. A
gentleman with medium built and unassuming demeanor joined. He felt my
pulse and asked if this was my first time. Not used to let go any
opportunity to show off, I replied with a touch of arrogance, "No,
this is my FIFTH time". I expected him to get impressed but much to my
dismay, he showed no signs of it. I thought let me make one more
attempt and I said with added vigor, " Last time I donated six months
back. I am not worried but is the interval big enough for a NORMAL
human being?" He pointed towards his two assistants and replied
reassuringly, "All of us donate at least five times in a year." I
should have kept quite after listening to that but unfortunately
graceful submission was the last thing in my mind. I retorted, " Even
I am willing to do that but I donate whenever there is a necessity. My
SOFTWARE job keeps me busy hence I find it a little inconvenient to go
on my own." With a saintly smile, he replied, " Every day thousands of
operations are deferred and hundreds are rendered unsuccessful, some
even resulting in death, due to lack of blood ready for transfusion.
This blood bank is five minutes walk from your office or home and the
whole process would not take more than half an hour." Even though
blood was taken out of my veins, my face turned crimson. Humiliation
is an understatement to describe the way I felt. The fact that he
seemed to have said all this without any intention to hurt me
compounded my misery.

I left (read fled) the blood bank as soon as they allowed me to. The
harder I tried to concentrate on my work; mightier was the force with
which, whatever the paramedic said kept coming to me. It was nothing
less than seven-course meal for thought. As I reflected I realized, it
made lot of sense. More often than not relief does not have a desired
effect, as we tend to wait for the disaster to happen and then gear
up. Let us consider the case of devastating tsunami. Agreed that no
one had foreseen such a large-scale disaster, but still thousands of
lives could have been saved if we had better relief management system
in place; if aid agencies already had some funds ready to be used in
the case of such an eventuality. In the midst of these disturbing
thoughts, I asked myself, "Who should be blamed? What can I do? Where
should I begin?" I got an answer that was unequivocal. I resolved to
voluntarily donate blood every three months. Big Deal! Why should I
share this with you? Doesn't this look like an attempt at my own
beatification? May be yes. I accept the brickbats with all humility
but the reason I am sharing this with you is to fulfil the other and
more significant part of my resolution i.e. encourage others to donate
blood. Why should you do it? Just because I am asking you to. NO.
Please read on?

The biggest misconception that stops one from donating blood is that
it will render the donor weak. Far from truth. After donating blood,
you replace these red blood cells within 3 to 4 weeks. It takes eight
weeks to restore the iron lost after donating. Anyone who is in good
health, is at least 17 years old, and weighs at least 110 pounds may
donate blood every 56 days. One school of thought claims that donating
blood activates bone marrow and infuses fresh blood in the body and
thus actually improving health of the donor. Moreover, this is the
most special way in which you can touch anyone's life. A healing touch
that creates a life long bond. The happiness I get, once I see my
friend's mother (for whom I have donated blood twice) leading a
healthier life, is transcendental. I am feeling a supreme sense of
fulfillment after knowing that my friend's father has been discharged.
But still in a way the motive behind the blood donation done for
relatives and acquaintances is not entirely unselfish. The real
challenge lies in performing voluntary blood donation, which will
promptly help the most needy, whom you may never come across. Remember
the greatest act of kindness is performed incognito. Furthermore, the
resolve to perform voluntary blood donation would encourage you to
maintain a healthy, sober and 'safe' lifestyle. Lastly, if you donate
blood you are entitled to get a chilled-on-the-house Frooti. Top that!

Do all the good you can
By all the means you can
In all the ways you can
At all the times you can
To all the people you can
As long as ever you can.
- Anonymous.



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